Mysore, the city of palaces, is a popular travel destination in South India. Also called Mysooroo, the city was earlier the capital of the Wodeyar rulers. The Wodeyar rulers were great patrons of art and culture, which you can see in the rich heritage of the city. Besides its numerous palaces and royal buildings, Mysore city is also known for proximity to several other places of interest such as Srirangapatna, Krishna Raj Sagra dam and Sivasamudram falls.
Mysore city is at 770m above sea level and 140 kms from Bangalore. Also known as the City of Palaces, Mysore retains a quaint charm, that never fails to enchant. Situated in the southern part of the Deccan Plateau, Mysore District is an undulating tableland, covered in parts by granite outcrops and fringed by verdant forests. From ancient times, this district has played a significant role in the history of South India.
Built in Indo-Saracenic style, with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Known as Amba Vilas Palace, it was designed by Henry Irwin, the British consultant architect of Madras State, and completed in 1912 on the site of the old wooden palace that was destroyed by fire in 1897. The majestic Durbar Hall with its ornate ceiling and sculpted pillars, and the Marriage Pavilion with its chandeliers, cast-iron pillars, and Belgian stained glass arranged in peacock designs on the domed ceilings, are the main attractions. A row of souvenir shops leads to the Residential Museum, which houses musical instruments, Tanjore and Mysore paintings, and an array of personal effects belonging to the Maharaja's family. The palace, illuminated on Sundays and public holidays, presents a spectacle of breathtaking beauty.
Brindavan Gardens is another popular attraction in mysore. From Mysore city center to Brindavan Gardens the distances is around 20 km (12 miles). It takes about an hours drive to reach Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam. Brindavan Gardens is right at the base of the dam. Brindavan Gardens illumination timing is from 7 PM to 8.30PM. During weekends and festival seasons the illumination timing is up to 8.30PM. Otherwise the general visiting time is from 6.30AM in the morning to 9.00PM in the evening. A visit to the garden is essentially a long walk (a few kilometer) along the flowerbed studded with numerous fountains. It takes anything not less than 2 hours for a satisfying visit of the garden (a stroll along its full length ). As a visitor you enters right at the middle of the garden. It is always an option to curtail the stroll to save time. But the most rewarding points of the garden are the extreme ends. The southmost end is the highest point that offers that classic postcard picture view of Brindavan Gardens. The northmost end is where the most sought after ‘Musical Fountain’ is located.
The Chamundi Hills on the outskirts of Mysore city is another famous landmark of the city. A visitor can see these hills from a distance of about 8 to 10kms while driving to this city of Palaces from any direction. The Chamundi Hills is about 3km from the city. It is at a height of 1065 meters above sea leave and about 800 feet above Mysore city. On the top of the hill is the Chamundeshwari temple that dates back to the 11th century. Goddess Chamundeshwari is an incarnation of Goddess Parvathi who took this form to destroy the demon king Mahishasura.
The Mysore zoo is over a century old and has an interesting history of its own. The zoological gardens in Mysore were set up by Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar who is acclaimed as one of the architects of modern Mysore. The Maharaja was a nature buff and set up a number of gardens and parks in Mysore. The Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary was established during the reign of the Maharaja to entertain important visitors to Mysore and give them the opportunity to observe the animals in their natural habitat.